Let’s say sayonara 2016, and hello to a newer greener lifestyle! With a little bit of creativity, you can plan the ultimate Go Green New Year’s Eve Party and set some “New Year, New You” goals.
Forgo the goofy 2017 glasses and noise poppers and try something more homemade and long-lasting. Create your own “Welcome 2017!” banner from recycled materials like cardboard or colorful paper. An old coffee can or peanut butter jar can be easily transformed into a noisemaker.
Create a goofy photo booth, with stuff you already own! That feather boa, wig from last Halloween, a bright tie, and some sunglasses will lead to hours of laughs as your guests Instagram and Snapchat their new getups. Add a couple of 2017-themed cardboard cutouts, and you’re set!
For the last night of the year, turn off the lights! Keep the twinkle-y holiday LED strands out and use soy or beeswax candles to set a cozy, chic mood.
Food and Drink
In Cincinnati, plastic party cups are not recyclable, so try to stick to the “real” stuff with glassware and reusable plates. Most people have champagne flutes laying around, encourage guests to bring their own.
Keep the menu simple and local. Make your own salsa or hummus with ingredients from a farmer’s market or community supported agriculture program. Growing animals for food uses a ton of water and is one of the leading sources of heat-trapping gas emissions. To keep your footprint even lower, commit to serving vegetarian and vegan food, there are tons of recipes online for meatless party favorites, like buffalo cauliflower “wings” (follow the link for the recipe we liked!)
If you are hosting a 21 and over party, did you know you can green-stock your bar? Cincinnati is home to over 20 breweries, from the ubiquitous Rhinegeist to the tiniest nano-brewery, offering just about anything you and your party guests could think of. And you don’t need to ship in the vino from Napa Valley, we have several wineries (some even offer non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice).
Finally, make sure to reuse or recycle your bottles and cans, and look into composting your food scraps.
Chances are, your community already has some sort of New Year’s festivities, or host a shindig at your own place amongst friends and family. Send email invites, cutting out the paper and mailing costs. If you choose to host a party, encourage your guests to stay overnight so no one has to drive late at night. Better yet, have folks carpool together, or taking alternative transportation to your festivities.
As cliché as it may seem, thousands of people make New Year’s resolutions every year, but many are forgotten or lost over time. Just about 8% of resolutions make it from January 1 all the way to the end of the year. Here are a couple of ideas for pledging to live green in 2017 that will be easy (and fun!) to keep all year long:
- Take alternative transportation once a week (bus, carpool, bike). Bonus points for biking and staying healthy during your commute!
- Commit to Meatless Monday. Skipping meat and cheese one day a week with your family has the carbon equivalent of taking your car off the road for 5 weeks.
- Get more involved with green living in your community. Talk to lawmakers, neighbors, organizations to keep in the know and make sure your voice is heard in local politics.
- More than 1 million plastic bags end up in landfills every minute. Keep reusable ones in your trunk and ask for paper bags when you forget.
- Live simpler. Donate unused clothes and household items that you no longer use to your local thrift store. Find out how to recycle old electronics (did you know you can recycle cell phones at the Cincinnati Zoo?)
- Reduce your bills! Unplugging electronics you are not using and taking shorter showers are easy ways to keep your footprint low as well as saving you some cash every month.
- Learn more. Attend free lectures, join a green book club, commit to going on hikes with a local nature group, or come to the Zoo to learn how to go green even more!
- Grow your own food. January is the perfect time to start planning a garden for the backyard. Even the tiniest apartments can have a potted herb garden with basil and rosemary.
And so many more. What kind of green resolution is your family planning?